Kaapo Kakko (born 13.2.2001) is a Finnish ice hockey winger. He has been playing in the NHL since 2019 and he has started his career with the New York Rangers.
Kaapo Kakko played his whole junior career with TPS (Turun Palloseura) organization in Finland. He started to play hockey when he was seven years old. On January 2017, when Kakko was only 15 years old, he signed a three-year contract with TPS.
He played season 2017-18 mainly with TPS A-juniors making 55 (25+30) points and he won Heino Pulli Award as A-junior Rookie of the year. On 15.12.2017, Kakko made his debut in Finnish Liiga against Ilves. He played six games in Liiga that year and got one point, assist.
Season 2018-19 was a breakthrough season for Kakko. He made 38 (22+16) points in 45 games. He was TPS’ best goal scorer in a regular season and 6th overall in the Liiga. He broke the old record of most goals made by under eighteen years old player. Kakko also won Jarmo Wasama Award as a rookie of the year.
After the season, Kakko went to the 2019 NHL Draft. Kakko and Jack Hughes were two prospects to the number one draft – Hughes was drafted first by New Jersey Devils and Kakko second by New York Rangers.
New York Rangers
On 11.7.2019, Kakko signed three-year entry-level contract with New York Rangers. On 3.10.2019, Kakko made his debut with the Rangers against Winnipeg Jets. Kakko played 66 games in season 2019-20 and made 23 (10+13) points total in 69 games. However, Kakko did not meet the all big expectations. Many experts though that Kakko was a little bit on trouble with the smaller ice rinks of the NHL.
Kaapo Kakko represented Team Finland in the 2018 IIHF World U18 Championships in Russia – Team Finland and Kakko won a gold medals. He was the best point scorer of Team Finland (along with Niklas Nordgren) with 10 (4+6) points.
Kakko represented Team Finland in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Canada – Team Finland and Kakko were able to win gold medals once again. Kakko made 2-3 winning goal against the Team USA in the final, only 1.26 minutes before the end of regular time.
Kakko and his golden touch continued in 2019 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships in Slovakia – Kakko was the best goal scorer of Team Finland with a total of six goals. Kakko and Team Finland won Canada 3-1 in the final and Kakko was able to catch another gold medal for his collection.